So I’m back at Wits, doing my Honours in English. Being Postgrad has opened up a whole new world! Well, technically that world consists of two new rooms. One being the Quiet Room – for reading heavy books with a serious look on your face, and perhaps smoking a pipe and mulling over unsolved murders. I wouldn’t know, I’ve only been in there once, to ask for the key for the Noisy Room.
The Noisy Room is where all the magical awesomeness of postgraduateness is at. There’s a kettle and a view of the dirty Joburg streets and rockstars rising from the dead and a whiteboard and ponies. And a really big table!
Being in this room was the first time that I actually liked being in the English department. I just kept thinking “This is weird… I’m not fetching an essay, so I’m not terrified… I’m not in pain, since I’m not in a lecture… I feel… Happy!”
The best part about the Noisy Room is it’s got other Noisy English Postgrads in it! And they’re all pretty awesome. Seeing as most of my varsity friends are Psychology kids (with a few Linguistics and Sociology majors thrown in for good measure) I’ve never really gotten anyone to stand still long enough to listen to me ramble about how deliciously emo Poe was or what a lame whiney man-spinster Matthew Arnold was (and how his poetry, despite rhyming, sucks eggs.)
Don’t know who Matthew Arnold is? Good. The rhyming just doesn’t make up for the sucking of eggs.
Luckily I don’t have to study him since I’m taking American Literature and Medieval Literature. For American, I’ve already gotten my first essay topic, which in classically vague polysyllabic English style is phrased thus:
“Thus, the ambivalence of existential existence is countered solely by the intangibility of the incorrigible, ludicrously indistinguishable qualms of the soul.” Discuss this arbitrary, abstract quote with close reference to at least something that someone has written at some point in time.Oh, and guess my favourite colour while you're at it.
Medieval Lit, on the other hand, is wonderful – until we slip into languages I don’t understand. Sure, I can breeze by some Latin phrases and guess what they mean. But Old and Middle English brings a whole new level of “HUH?!”
Lines like this frighten me:
Where ys 3oure witte where ys 3oure prouidence
Okay, is it just me, or does this language need to be renamed Old Orangutan SMS Language? What I’ve gleaned of the meaning is: “Where stuff stuff 3stuff where is stuff… 3.” But I’ve got a weird feeling there’s more to it than that.
So what I’ve learned this week: English Honours isn’t for pansies. Or anyone who feels like they need to understand what they’re reading. But it’s all good, as I’m really used to being clueless. May as well embrace it and avoid Getting A Job for another year!
(Oh, and speaking of being unemployed, have you noticed the ads on this page? They’re sexy, huh? Go ahead, click on one, I get a chappie every time you do!)